RDS Library & Archives

Crooke, Emer

White elephants : the country house and the state in independent Ireland, 1922-73 / Emer Crooke. - xi, 263 pages : ill, charts, 26 cm

In post-independence Ireland, the country house was not regarded as an integral part of the national heritage. Despite this, the relationship between the Irish state and the country house has not been examined in detail to date. White Elephants illustrates the complex nature of attitudes to the country house.

"Grand, awe-inspiring and beautiful, the `Big House' is widely viewed as a jewel in the Irish landscape today. Despite this, the relationship between the country house and the state has long been complex and nuanced. Houses such as Castletown, Mote Park, and Shanbally Castle have faced sometimes insurmountable threats to their survival since the founding of the Free State. Against a backdrop of civil war and social upheaval, the fledging government of 1922 was unwilling to accept the burdensome gifts of these extravagant but ineffectual `white elephants' at a time when much of the population lived in poverty. From the 1920s to the 1970s, hundreds of former landlords' residences - often seen as symbols of British oppression - were sold on, demolished or simply abandoned to ruin. Despite the significant change that took place in terms of the perception of these houses as part of the national heritage, the relationship between the state post-independence and the country house has not been examined in detail to date." - Copac

9781910820285 (hbk.) :

Country homes--Political aspects--History--Ireland--20th century.
Architecture--Political aspects--History--Ireland--20th century.
Architecture and society--Ireland.
Country homes--History--Ireland--20th century.

Ireland--Politics and government--1922-
Ireland--Social conditions--1922-1973.


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